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November 29, 2011, 4:36 am UTC
Many Indian companies are sitting on a wealth of customer data but don’t know what to do with them.
One of the greatest needs of marketing professionals is customer data. Often many brands spend millions on acquiring this data. What, hence, is surprising, is that there are many brands that sit on a wealth of data, readily given away by their customers, but choose to do nothing about it. Indian brands, unlike in the west, have not yet woken up to a marketing opportunity starring at their faces.
Let’s take a few examples.
Courier Companies: All courier companies today require a customer to give in their mobile numbers when they send a mail or have to sign slips when they receive one. Thus, depending on the size of their business, these companies can, with little effort, gather names, addresses and mobile numbers of literally thousands to hundreds of thousands of customers. This data can be used for multiple purposes. E.g. the mobile numbers can be used for phone marketing. And addresses can be used to send special offers. Sadly, none of them do that.
Shopping Malls: Many supermarket brands, book stores, cinema halls that one finds in a typical urban shopping malls, have their own loyalty programs where they collect data from their customers. However, most of these brands, sit upon the collected data doing nothing. Often even an emailer full of offers from the brands, even when the brands come up with regular offers, are not sent to them. This, in today’s cluttered marketing space, is akin to sacrilege and represents a huge missed opportunity. Instead of spending millions on advertisements, spending a fraction on say effective email marketing, could give multiple times value for marketing money spent.
Other Brands: In India if you look for one example, one will find hundred other examples of brands sitting on a wealth of customer information which they have no idea how to leverage upon. This includes everyone from small brands, to large ones. That amounts to missed opportunity.
Consider this: When someone buys a product and is happy with the product, the customer’s propensity to buy another product of the same brand obviously increases. Now this brand often would have the data of the customer in its databases. However, when they fail to send offers to their existing customers, either thorough sms, emailers or even by the old world physical mail, they miss a connection with their customer and thus sales.
Yet, before one jumps the gun and desperately starts trying to use this data, one has to keep in mind one of the most important things: not to infringe upon the privacy of those whose data’s they have. The above suggestions for use of data are thus illustration of how they can be used. How it is used eventually would depend upon the need of the particular brand at any given time.
The idea of this article, however, is to make brands aware of the importance of the data they have. The need is first to be aware of the available data. The next step is to sit and deliberate on how the data can be used.
Today, this use is not an option, but a necessity.
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